School of the Laity

2021 SOL Upcoming Class Dates

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March 13-14, 2021

New Testament Course
Presbytopia Course


NEW TESTAMENT SURVEY
: Participants will examine the historical contexts, the role of the reader and the reader’s context for interpreting the New Testament and will interpret the NT texts within their literary contexts. They will also discuss and prioritize contemporary justice issues when reading the New Testament. This course will be led by Rev. Dr. Mitzi Smith, the J. Davison Philips Professor of New Testament at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia.                                                 

ELECTIVE COURSE: PRESBYTOPIA; A Celebration of All Things Presbyterian! In this class, participants will join Rev. Andrew Meeker form Wilmington Island Presbyterian Church to look at how our Presbyterian history, theology and practices continue to shape our understandings of God, our lives and the world around us.

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June 25-27, 2021

Intro to the Bible
Reformed Theology

  

INTRODUCTION TO THE BIBLE: Participants will survey the literature, history, and faith of the people of Israel as recorded in the Old Testament and the new Israel of God as described in the New Testament. They will examine key elements of the narrative, become sensitive to the overall shape of the material and explore how the church of Jesus Christ has come to view its history and itself. This course will be led by Dr. Bob Bryant, Professor of Bible at Presbyterian College and favorite SOL faculty member of many years.

REFORMED THEOLOGY: Spiritual Grounding for our Turbulent Times A fresh understanding and foundational knowledge of the central tenets of our tradition, such as the authority of Scripture, the unconditional nature of grace, the sovereignty of God, the priesthood of all believers, and, yes, predestination. This course will be led by Rev. Joanna Adams, a preacher and teacher who graduated from Columbia Theological Seminary, has pastored churches, begun multiple non-profits and who recently serves on boards of Skyland Trail and One Hundred Miles.

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OCTOBER 2-3, 2021

Hebrew Bible Study
History, Mission and Polity

HEBREW BIBLE SURVEY: Judaism in the time of Jesus During this course, we will survey the Hebrew Bible or as Christians know it, The Old Testament. We will consider how the Hebrews of Jesus’ time approached and interpreted scripture in a desire for us to better understand the past to be better equipped for the now. Rabbi Rachael Bregman is the Berman Family Rabbinate Rabbi in Brunswick GA where she has been building diverse community since 2013.

HISTORY, MISSION & POLITY: This course will help participants learn to use Presbyterian polity to address specific issues and practices in church life.  Participants will have opportunity to understand the historical and theological foundations of the PC(USA) and how these inform the way Presbyterians “do church.” It will also acquaint participants with the Book of Order and how it helps to further the ministry and mission of the church. Rev. Joyce Lieberman is the Executive and Stated Clerk of the Synod of South Atlantic of the PC (USA). She served with the Office of the General Assembly of the PC(USA) as Associate for Call System Support, Manager for Polity Guidance and Training, and Director for Constitutional Interpretation.

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 Questions? Contact Marty Susie, SOL Registrar, at msusie1@savannahpresbytery.org or 912-228-1353

2021 March Brochure

2021 March Registration Form

2021 SOL Save the Dates Brochure

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Help us promote this excellent presbytery program through Minutes for Mission, bulletin inserts and personal conversations.

Here are some thoughts from some of our graduates:

“…The School of the Laity helped me to think out of the box to come up with creative ways to spread the news of Jesus Christ.”

“…The School of the Laity has given me the courage to soar!”

“…The most meaningful part of the School of the Laity for me has been that it has provided a safe place to explore, to question, to express both doubts and disagreements.”

History of School of the Laity

In the fall of 1988, ten laypeople of Savannah Presbytery became the first graduating class of an innovative presbytery ministry know as the School of the Laity. A very demanding program of study requiring a two-year commitment and additional hours of class and preparation time, the School of the Laity was a vision of then Executive Presbyter Dr. J. Richard Bass, who saw the desire of laypersons to engage in serious study of scripture, theology, and ministry.

The students participate in two summer courses taught by college professors. Each session involves eighteen hours of class time and additional hours of personal study. The courses are: Introduction to the Bible and Introduction to Reformed Theology. In the final summer, they complete their studies with an in-depth course in Practical Ministry.

Students complete briefer courses in the spring and fall of two successive years. Savannah Presbytery ministers lead studies on Old Testament, New Testament, History, Mission & Polity and Practical Ministry 1.  To date, over 250 laypeople have participated in the School of the Laity, representing two-thirds of the churches of the presbytery. Its graduates are providing outstanding leadership in their congregations, the presbytery and the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A.




History of the
School of the Laity program

2017 School of the Laity graduates, from left: Ken Bailey, Emily Crawford Sanders, Barbara Conner, Daniel Walters

In the fall of 1988, ten laypeople of Savannah Presbytery became the first graduating class of an innovative presbytery ministry know as the School of the Laity. A very demanding program of study requiring a two-year commitment and additional hours of class and preparation time, the School of the Laity was a vision of then Executive Presbyter Dr. J. Richard Bass, who saw the desire of laypersons to engage in serious study of scripture, theology, and ministry.

The students participate in two summer courses taught by college professors. Each session involves eighteen hours of class time and additional hours of personal study. The courses are: Introduction to the Bible and Introduction to Reformed Theology. In the final summer, they complete their studies with an in-depth course in Practical Ministry.

Students complete briefer courses in the spring and fall of two successive years. Savannah Presbytery ministers lead studies on Old Testament, New Testament, History, Mission & Polity and Practical Ministry 1.

To date over 250 laypeople have participated in the School of the Laity, representing two-thirds of the churches of the presbytery. Its graduates are providing outstanding leadership in their congregations, the presbytery and the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A.